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Bradyrhizobium Japonicum

Bradyrhizobium is a genus of Gram-negative, nitrogen-fixing bacteria known for its symbiotic relationships with leguminous plants, including soybeans and various other legumes. These bacteria play a critical role in converting atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can utilize, a process known as nitrogen fixation.

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Biology & Mode of Action

Species of Bradyrhizobium are found primarily in the soil. They form root nodules in their host plants, where they convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3), a form of nitrogen that plants can use. The plant provides the bacteria with carbohydrates for energy, and in return, the bacteria provide the plant with nitrogen, an essential nutrient.

Role in Agriculture and Detailed Benefits to Plants

The symbiotic relationships between Bradyrhizobium and legumes offer significant agricultural benefits:


Nitrogen Fixation

Nitrogen is a critical nutrient for plant growth. It is a primary component of amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Bradyrhizobium's nitrogen-fixing ability can supply a substantial portion of a host plant's nitrogen requirements. This not only enhances the growth and productivity of the host legume but also enriches the soil with nitrogen, promoting the growth of subsequent crops.

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Crop Diversity & Rotation

The symbiotic relationships formed by Bradyrhizobium species are not limited to soybeans. Various species of Bradyrhizobium form relationships with other legumes, such as peanuts, peas, and clover. This diversity allows for effective crop rotation strategies, helping to control pests and diseases, improve soil structure, and increase crop yield.

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Improved Plant Establishment & Survival

By providing a reliable source of nitrogen, Bradyrhizobium can significantly improve the yield and quality of legume crops. More nitrogen availability can lead to increased protein content, improving the nutritional quality of the crop.

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Reduced Fertilizer Dependency

Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers can have negative environmental impacts, including water pollution, soil acidification, and the production of greenhouse gases. By fixing atmospheric nitrogen, Bradyrhizobium reduces the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, promoting more sustainable farming practices and reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture.

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Soil Health & Fertility

Beyond nitrogen fixation, the process of nodule formation and decay contributes organic matter to the soil, improving soil structure and water-holding capacity. Additionally, the decaying nodules release nutrients back into the soil, providing a natural nutrient boost.

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Industrial Applications

The use of Bradyrhizobium extends beyond the field:

Inoculant Production

Species of Bradyrhizobium are commercially produced as inoculants for legume seeds. Inoculation can help ensure effective nodulation and nitrogen fixation, particularly in soils where the bacteria are not naturally present or abundant.


Nitrogen-fixing bacteria like Bradyrhizobium can potentially help restore nitrogen-depleted soils, playing a role in bioremediation, the process of using organisms to restore polluted environments.

Future Research and Applications

Ongoing research into Bradyrhizobium aims to further enhance its benefits and applications. This includes improving our understanding of the symbiotic relationships between these bacteria and their host plants, developing strains with improved nitrogen-fixing efficiency, and exploring potential for extending its symbiosis to other crops.


Bradyrhizobium is a vital ally in agriculture, particularly in the cultivation of legumes. Its ability to fix nitrogen enhances soil fertility, improves crop yield, and promotes sustainable farming practices. As research continues, the potential benefits and applications of this remarkable bacterium may continue to grow.

Resources for Bradyrhizobium Japonicum

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